Case Study

Bavaria: Brewing with local roots and global ambitions

22 pages
September 2016
Reference: IMD-7-1727

Lieshout (NL), October 2015. Bavaria N.V., founded well before 1680 and based in Lieshout (Netherlands), was the second largest brewery in the Netherlands. It symbolized fierce independence and a high degree of entrepreneurship, always balancing legacy with innovation. Five cousins from the Swinkels family were at the helm of the operative business; the company’s shared leadership model was one of its many ingredients for success, as was the family’s unquenchable ambition for the company. But the path to global enjoyment was anything but smooth. Western beer markets had been stagnating for years, some even declining, and competition was fierce. To generate growth, brewers had to rely mostly on acquisitions. The challenge for the seventh generation of Swinkels’ family owners had clearly been to leverage the company’s exceptional brewing skills. To stay relevant and continue to thrive for the next generations, Bavaria needed to identify new growth niches and maintain excellence in product quality while optimizing its manufacturing and entire value chain. Should it continue to rely on technology to create new products and brands addressing ever finer niche markets? Should it reach out for new frontier markets where beer consumption was still on the uptrend? Could it really do both effectively with its original governance and management structure, keeping the family connection and values?

Learning Objective

Family governance, culture, growth management, expansion strategy, sustainability, Ethiopia, affinity financing, emerging markets, product portfolio management, venturing, entrepreneurship.

Growth, Emerging Country, Emerging Market, Beer, Culture, Value
Bavaria Brewery, Manufacturing, Brewing
Field Research
© 2016
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note, Video
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